School’s out for summer (cue the Alice Cooper), so we’re using this time to reflect on student entrepreneurs who made strides this past academic year. While the list of undergraduate entrepreneurs in Boston is seemingly unending, some stood out from the rest- whether it be for their total embodiment of the entrepreneurial spirit, the milestones their ventures hit the last couple of semesters or the promise their startups pose in the coming months.
Here are five entrepreneurs hailing from different colleges throughout Greater Boston, whom we’ve been watching – and will continue to watch.
Michael Liebman – Bentley
He’s partnered with his older sister Rebecca Liebman to found LearnLux, a startup focused on educating millennials on personal finance basics. The venture has gone through MassChallenge and has raised seed funding from Rough Draft Ventures, as well as Dorm Room Fund. In a past conversation with Rebecca, she told BostInno that Michael is “a finance guru” and shared that he has been day-trading since he was 15 years old.
Derek Tu – Babson
Tu is a co-founder of Womentum, a crowdfunding platform allowing people to back female entrepreneurs in developing nations. In addition to his own venture, Tu currently working on product at the startup Flywire (formerly known as peerTransfer), is part of the investment team at Rough Draft Ventures and is the president of eTower, Babson’s on-campus dorm community for entrepreneurs. Basically, Tu has a hand in every part of the Boston ecosystem that he can and he feeds off that energy as he works on Womentum.
“The flexibility and hustler mentality that embody what startups stand for, that’s embedded in our DNA and that’s what we plan on using in our nonprofit,” he said in a previous interview.
Jordan DeGraaf – Harvard
DeGraaf took what had been a project for an engineering course and ran with it. She’s heading up Trignis, a venture developing what it promises to be the ultimate meat smoker. It’s outfitted with IoT so you can monitor your food’s progress and if you don’t know how to cook, DeGraaf had told us, “Our app walks you through the entire barbecue experience from start to finish, which is perfect for novices who have no idea what they’re doing.”
So when the bioengineering student isn’t in class, she’s helping with the smoker’s redesign, user testing and fundraising.
Matt Arbesfeld – MIT (kind of)
Arbesfeld was an MIT undergrad. And then he was named a Thiel Fellow, with which he received a $100,000 grant to work on his company AppHub, provided that he dropped out of college in January. So he did, which might be the ultimate sacrifice in the student entrepreneur world. With his venture, Arbesfeld is providing tools to help developers detect and fix bugs, in addition to easily rolling out updates for their apps.
Abbey Titcomb – Northeastern
College kids don’t always put safety first, so Titcomb is doing something about it. The mechanical engineering student is developing a piece of hardware that would allow students to automatically send text messages alerting friends and family that they feel unsafe or are in danger, also giving a location to find them. Titcomb is using her upcoming co-op to work on her venture, Knightly, full-time, so she’ll be doubling down for six months to get her product ready for beta testing with Northeastern next academic year.